African American Women and HIV/AIDS: Critical Responses

By Dorie J. Gilbert; Ednita M. Wright | Go to book overview

11
Focus on Solutions: A Community-Based
Mother/Daughter HIV Risk-Reduction
Intervention1

Barbara L. Dancj

African American mothers represent an important link to reducing the risk of HIV-infection among adolescent girls. If African American mothers have comprehensive and correct HIV sexual risk-reduction information and skills, they can become protective factors for their daughters in deterring HIV sexual highrisk behaviors (Romer et al. 1999). When African American mothers, prior to their adolescents' first sexual encounter, actively engage their adolescents in conversation about condoms and sexual risks, their adolescents are more likely to use condoms during their first sexual relationship and in subsequent sexual relationships and to postpone early initiation of sexual activities (Lock and Vincent 1995; Miller, Levin, Whitaker, and Xu 1998; Romer et al. 1999).

However, far too often African American mothers do not have the comprehensive and correct HIV sexual risk-reduction information needed to promote risk-reduction behaviors (Hamburg 1997; Hockenberry-Eaton et al. 1996; Wyatt 1997). Consequently, mothers' guidance may be lacking at a time when their daughters need it most. This lack of guidance is especially apparent for African American mother/daughter dyads because, compared with other ethnic groups, African American adolescents are less likely to have talked to their mothers about sex or HIV/AIDS (Player and Frank 1994; Wyatt, 1997).

African American mothers' abilities to assist their adolescents could be greatly enhanced if the quality of their HIV-related information were improved. With enhanced knowledge and skill, mothers might be more inclined to assume their unique position as viable role models. Health care providers can enhance mothers' ability to be effective role models by teaching them HIV knowledge and riskreduction skills so that they can then teach to and model for their daughters.

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